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Gaining access and conducting research on moocs: challenges and good practices related to online interviews

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this is the presentation from a workshop I ran at the Joint Technology Enhanced Learning Summer School in Aveiro, Portugal

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Gaining access and conducting research on moocs: challenges and good practices related to online interviews

  1. 1. Gaining access & Conducting research on MOOCs: Challenges and Good Practices related to online interviews Tina Papathoma Work supervised by: Rebecca Ferguson Doug Clow Allison Littlejohn @aktinaki
  2. 2. My PhD topic
  3. 3. What about you? • Are you considering to conduct online interviews? • Have you already conducted online interviews? • Just came to listen to the challenges and good practices of conducting online interviews? • ..or?
  4. 4. Here is the thing.. We will create a case and - discuss how we would go about gaining access - prepare, conduct and record an online interview - reflect on the challenges and good practices of gaining access and conducting interviews I will be sharing experiences from my own study and the decisions I made for the study 
  5. 5. Let’s create a case • Form groups of 2 or more • Choose a topic • Form a Research Question that to be answered you need to gather data through interviews (i.e. you might be looking for people’s views, insights, perceptions) • Write 2-3 interview questions • Think about how you could gain access • Conduct an online interview • Reflect on good practices and challenges Tired or in lack of inspiration?  Use my topic, RQ and 2-3 questions of my interview schedule
  6. 6. Activities Activity 1: how will you gain access? Activity 2: how will you prepare for the interviews? Activity 3: conduct an online interview Activity 4: reflect on how you conducted the interview
  7. 7. My Topic: How educators learn how to teach in massive open online courses : a multi-case study Research Question: How do educators learn how to teach in moocs? Methodology: A multi-case study gathering data from online interviews from educators involved in moocs in history and politics
  8. 8. Activity 1: how will you gain access? 1. What is the setting you are looking to get access to? (school, university, educational platform, museum etc.) 2. Whom do you need to approach? (gatekeepers, personal networks, individuals etc.) 3. How do you approach the people you need? (email, phone, in person etc.) – how many times and what do you ask? 4. What are the risks you might face with your initial plan? 5. What will you do if this initial plan doesn’t work as you expected?
  9. 9. Email sent to participants Dear X I am contacting you in order to invite you to be interviewed as part of my PhD study that investigates how university educators move their practice towards MOOCs. The interview will last around 45 minutes and will be conducted by Skype at your convenience. You will be asked about your experience with open, online education and teaching as well as how you worked on the ‘CaseX’ course and about how this differs from your previous experience. I have attached an information sheet and I am happy to provide you with more information about the study if needed. Also, could you please point me to other colleagues of yours that have been involved in this course? Your contribution is important to develop greater understanding of educators’ professional practice processes in MOOC settings and will therefore be of benefit to other educators and to institutions. I look forward to hearing back from you. Why How long Where What More info Open the network Appeal to emotion
  10. 10. Case A mooc Academic 001 Academic 003 Academic 008 Case C mooc Learning Designer 002 Facilitator 004 Facilitator 005 Facilitator 006 Facilitator 010Learning Designer 009 How I gained access Snowball effect 
  11. 11. Activity 2: how will you prepare for the interviews? 1. What questions will you ask? 2. How will you test the questions? 3. What software/ tools do you need for conducting and recording the interviews? 4. What about the wi-fi quality/ actual location during the interview /distractions for interlocutors? 5. What is your back up plan in case the software/tools you use do not work?
  12. 12. How I prepared myself for the interviews (1) 1. Questions asked My Interview schedule: -general questions to see where the interviewees were coming from -similarities and differences between previous work practices and the mooc -ways of setting up and running the mooc -positive aspects of working on the mooc / problems and how they tackled them -their understanding of how teaching and learning takes place in moocs -how they prepared to work in these new ways in moocs -experience on moocs for credits -production and running process of their mooc in the future, any changes needed
  13. 13. How I prepared myself for the interviews (2) 2. How did I test my questions? -pilot interview where many things went wrong (recording software, sound of the skype call was cutting off etc.) 3. What software/ tools? -2 recorders used 4. Wi-Fi quality/ actual location during the interview /distractions for interlocutors? -at uni where broadband quality tends to be good/ quiet office/ phone on silent mode, email and browsers closed –I couldn’t control the interviewee on that though 5. What is your back up plan in case the software/tools you use do not work? – contacted 57 people/ used two recorders/ email reminders sometime before the interview
  14. 14. Let’s conduct an online interview
  15. 15. Activity 3: Conduct an online interview Each group needs : - wi-fi -1 interviewer * -1 interviewee * -2 smart phones /or laptops -1 recorder (it can be a recording app in a 3rd smart phone) -the interview questions in hand -interview should last around 5 minutes *one of these people needs to be ideally in separate rooms for 5 minutes
  16. 16. Activity 4: reflect on how you conducted the online interviews 1. What difficulties did you find? 2. What good practices did you experience? 3. What changes would you make next time?
  17. 17. Lessons learned from gaining access & conducting online interviews Which practices were found useful?  Personalisation  Notes/ diary keeping  Timing  Building virtual relationships  Sending kind reminders  Recording with different devices  Conducting the interview in a quiet place for both interlocutors  Reflect on the challenges  (Re)Plan throughout the process of the online interviews  Opening networks continually  Being flexible, agile and persistent
  18. 18. Useful References • Deakin, H., & Wakefield, K. (2014). Skype interviewing: reflections of two PhD researchers. Qualitative Research, 14(5), 603–616. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468794113488126 • Hanna, P. (2012). Using internet technologies (such as Skype) as a research medium: a research note. Qualitative Research, 12(2), 239– 242. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468794111426607 • O’Connor, H., & Madge, C. (2017). Online Interviewing. In N. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of online research methods 2nd Ed. (p. 655).
  19. 19. Thank you  @aktinaki

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